DEG: Sales, Rentals of Catalog Movies, TV Series Soar in Q1

Catalog titles more than doubled their share of digital transactional spending in the first quarter of this year, according to the latest DEG: The Digital Entertainment estimates, released late in the day on May 11.

Older movies accounted for 76% of all digital purchases (also known as electronic sellthrough) and rentals in Q1, DEG reported, compared with 37% in the first quarter of 2020.

Very few new films have been released to transactional home entertainment platforms so far this year, as studios hold back films in anticipation that COVID-19 restrictions will be further eased and theaters will soon be operating at full capacity.

For most of the first quarter, movie theaters in Los Angeles — the epicenter of the movie business — were dark. Only in the middle of the month were they allowed to reopen, albeit at 25% capacity.

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Among the top catalog titles in the first quarter of 2021: Harry Potter: Complete 8-Film Collection, Spider-Man: Homecoming, The Wolf of Wall Street, Godzilla: King of the Monsters and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Consumers were also drawn to purchase TV titles, with digital sales of TV shows rising nearly 35% during the quarter to an estimated $215 million. Top-selling TV series included “Yellowstone,” “The Office,” “The Big Bang Theory,” “When Calls the Heart” and “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”

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